The Kiwis narrowly failed to beat Wales as emphatically as England had last week, thanks to a brave second-half showing from the Welsh in the first match of the Wembley double-header. When New Zealand led 26-0 at half-time, England's 42-4 win looked certain to be eclipsed, but Iestyn Harris's men did well to restrict them to only two tries after the break.
Sika Manu and Gerard Beale claimed two tries apiece, but the Kiwis' architect was Benji Marshall, who tormented the Welsh with the range and imagination of his passing and kicking.
Not everything about Wales was bad. Lee Briers tried his full bag of tricks without much help from the bounce of the ball, Craig Kopczak again caught the eye with his muscular driving and tackling and Elliot Kear was brave and elusive.
The Welsh conceded early tries to Jason Nightingale and Kevin Locke. Manu's brace and a first for Beale threatened a Kiwi rampage after the interval, but it took until the 62nd minute before Beale crossed the line. Nathan Fien added a final try.